Charting Color Performance

I find it maddening that paints with the same name differ so greatly in color and performance from one brand to another. To chart the differences, I do a few simple tests on every new brand of color I try. On the front of a 1 ? x 5-inch strip of watercolor paper, I put three brushstrokes of the color: one to test for staining properties, one to test opacity and one graded stroke to show value range. On the back, I write the brand and color name, along with the test results. I put the same information on my pans of color and paint tubes with a permanent marker. When it’s time to refill a pan or buy a new tube, I have all the information I need.

A self-described artistic heretic, Kirk Lybecker has a B.F.A. in sculpture from Washburn University and an M.F.A. in drawing from the University of Idaho. He’s been a painter since 1976 when he discovered that sculpture required too much work and drawing didn’t pay well enough. His work is represented by Gail Severn Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho, Marguiles Taplin Gallery in Miami, Florida, and Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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